Slipping accident – accidents abroad – witness evidence – burden of proof
Tomlinson LJ, Floyd LJ, Ouseley J
27 November 2014
The claimant slipped and fell down a flight of steps at a hotel in Spain. The Court of Appeal had to determine whether the hotel had acted with reasonable care and skill in accordance with local standards, and where the evidential burden should lie in respect of this.
The claimant slipped on a flight of granite steps which led from the hotel pool to the reception area. The steps were wet and she fell and suffered injuries, for which she argued the defendant travel company was liable.
The court did not hear expert evidence as to local standards of care, as the claimant’s application to adduce expert evidence from a Spanish lawyer was refused. The judge in the first instance found for the claimant, relying on the evidence of the hotel manager that it was not acceptable for the steps to be wet and that there were no specific Spanish standards on cleaning and monitoring the steps relevant to the case. As this was the only evidence on local standards, the evidential burden of proof was effectively placed on the defendant. The defendant argued that this was an error in law, and appealed.
Article continues below...